Pub chain picks Droplet’s fee-free mobile payments and rewards

The Ship at Levington, Suffolk
PUBS: Adnams will put Droplet into 12 shops and 50 inns across East Anglia and London

British brewer Adnams is to roll out a mobile payments and rewards service in its 12 stores and 50 pubs across East Anglia and London this summer using a fee-free platform provided by UK startup Droplet.

“Droplet Rewards is a mobile payments application that goes beyond payments,” the company explains. “Easy to customise and deploy in-store, the application allows merchants to reward regular customers through their smartphone and gives consumers the ability to pay their tab or bill without even getting their phone out of their pocket.”

“We don’t use any proprietary technology at all so we exist completely separate to the card payment systems,” Droplet CEO Steffan Aquarone explained to NFC World. “All people need is an iOS or Android device, and the same goes for the merchants as well.

“The way it works is we install our merchant-side app on their tablet or smartphone, it’s usually a tablet they have behind the till, and then their customers download the Droplet Rewards app onto their smartphones and add a payment card. Droplet geolocates customers so they can tap ‘pay here’ when they arrive.

“By tapping ‘pay here’, customers will appear on the merchant app and the merchant can then charge them. If they choose to become a regular, they don’t even need to tap the button in the future.

“There’s no touching, tapping, scanning or swiping at all — we just use the web and the various different geolocation technologies. This means if a customer goes into a Droplet merchant, that merchant is at the top of the list that they can choose from as to where they want to check in.”

“There’s no other payment system out there that’s fee-free, it’s our biggest differentiator,” Aquarone continued. “We’re like the Skype for payments. When Skype came along, they took the thing that everybody used to pay for, the phonecall, and made it free.

“Like Skype, we make money from the optional bolt-ons such as Rewards. With Rewards they pay a monthly subscription, only when they’ve got more than 25 customers actively using it. So, they get a chance to try it out for free and then once more than 25 customers are collecting rewards from them, then they’ll start paying a small monthly subscription.

The Droplet merchant screen
REWARDS: Merchants see customers, their reward status, and a ‘charge’ button

“It’s actually really very similar to what people are already used to doing when they collect stamp cards. As soon as the merchant has charged the customer, the next screen on the merchant app asks them if they want to award any stamps so it’s just like when you get out a bit of paper and the merchant stamps your card but, obviously, you don’t have to remember that bit of paper and the merchants get data as well.”

The service is to be made available first in Adnams’ pubs in Norwich over the Summer, before being rolled out to other locations. Droplet is currently working with over 600 merchants across the UK and has more than 18,000 users.

“Adnams has been brewing beer in Britain for more than 140 years and we have always prided ourselves on our ability to adapt and embrace new technologies,” says Adnams CEO Andy Wood. “With mobile set to be the next major disruption in our industry, we have been looking for a mobile payments solution for some time.

“By using Droplet to reward our customers through the app, we can give something back to our loyal customers and encourage new ones to return — something which is absolutely critical for a community-focused business like Adnams.”

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